Facts 1 and 2: There's a bus that leaves every hour from Chinatown in Boston to Chinatown in New York City, and vice versa. It costs 10 dollars each way.
Fact 3: I don't particularly like this operation, won't name it, but feel you should be aware of it.
Fact 4: I'm not receiving comp tickets, ZhiZhi Wang jerseys or $100 worth of Lloyd Braun's gum for writing this column.
I've had two experiences with the Chinatown bus, one in December and the other this past weekend. In December, both buses were on time, one played "Independence Day," and for less than the cost of gas, let alone tolls and Combos, I got a four-hour ride. No complaints.
That brings us to Friday. We left 40 minutes late. The seats were cramped, so every time the guy next to me answered his cell phone, which was in his back pocket, it was like he was putting the moves on me at a high school make-out spot. We stopped at a Roy Rogers, of all places, in the middle of Connecticut, then got absolutely killed by rush hour traffic in the Bronx.
On the return trip, the 11 a.m. bus came around the corner at 11:25, drove past us, pulled a u-turn and disappeared over the Manhattan Bridge. At that point, a Derrick Brooks lookalike at the front of the line lost his mind, sending the Asian woman in charge and her prepubescent son scurrying into an electronics store. Twenty minutes later, a maroon and gold van called the Eagle One Coach pulled up. I was half-expecting BC legend Nate Doornekamp to be driving this thing. The seats were permanently reclined at 135-degree angles, forcing everybody on board to attempt to sleep. The only problem for me was that I was sitting just to the right of the bathroom door, and the person across the way had a huge backpack in the aisle. Basically, every time I slipped into semi-consciousness, I'd get an unsolicited crotch to the face. It was like wresting Yokozuna. For four hours.
That sums it up. It's either going to be just fine (but never great) or horrendous. Semi-hit or miss. Like Ray Lucas. This is what I've heard from everyone else, too. I'm not telling you to take this or not to, but if you have no money and absolutely need a ride to a parent's birthday, friend's party or a victory parade in early November, it's something to consider.
But like Yao would say, "If the bus sucks, this is not my shortcoming."
Now on a totally unrelated, more important note ...
Today, Friday, Aug. 27, from 6 a.m. to midnight, the Red Sox and two local networks are hosting a radiothon to benefit the Jimmy Fund, a cancer research foundation based here in Boston, with the goal of raising $1 million. If you need definitive proof that this cause transcends this city and the Sox in particular, last year the Jimmy Fund received (cue Morgan Freeman voice) 10 thousand dollars courtesy of the hardest screw that ever ran a major league baseball team, George Steinbrenner. The colossal ... um, Steinbrenner ... even managed to seem magnanimous. And apparently he's calling again this year. You can give by phone or online, and here's the link: jimmyfund.kintera.org/radiothon
And one last reason to help out: I can almost guarantee that you make more money than I do.
Onto the links ...
ESPN.com (8/26) -- Heartwarming news: Governor McGreevey asked an Atlantic City minor league baseball team to rehire a fired employee who dedicated "YMCA" in tribute to him. No matter who it's dedicated to, that song is as big a fixture at minor-league games as eating soft-serve ice cream out of mini- helmets. I don't see what the big deal was.
(Note from Simmons: "Coulda been worse... he could have played 'Gimme A Man After Midnight' by Erasure.")
Yahoo! News (8/25) -- If you thought "Everyday" was unfortunate, the Dave Matthews Band is being sued for allegedly dumping 800 pounds of liquid human waste from its tour bus into the Chicago River. This is a low for me, too. I was psyched to make a "Don't Drink the Water" joke before realizing the E! News writer had already thought of it, basically the journalism equivalent of Wayne Brady being scooped by Sinbad.
(BANNED BY PAGE 2 EDITORS - 8/25) -- Yep, it's the website that uses the name of a weapon and the cigarette adjective again. Yesterday they posted a hilarious series of complaints filed against New York State Thruway Authority toll collectors by motorists. On one hand, if you don't have EZ Pass by now, you deserve this. Then again, you'd think these collectors would be a little friendlier considering they're becoming as expendable as grocery store check-out guys, get paid twice as much and don't have to memorize the skew number for beets.
SportsPickle (8/25) -- "Former Iraqi Information Director Claims Iraq Beat Paraguay 68-0"
And not to be outdone ...
The Onion (8/25) -- "Dolph Lundgren Wins Long, Courageous Battle Against Fame"
CBSoCal.com -- Must be the connection between sunshine and energy. The Boz is in Malibu working as a real estate agent, and apparently has been at it for some time. If the phone number to his office abruptly disappears, we can assume he's hatching a plot to kidnap Bo Jackson and can't be bothered. The Stone Cold Link of the Week. The Sporting News (8/25) -- Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom writes a scathing response to the NCAA's rejection of his bid to join the Colorado football team. In doing so, he rightfully included a shot at Willie Williams (who's out 2-3 months with an MCL tear, by the way). No joke, this is a great column, and the ad for the $49.99 Air Force jersey (if it's still there when you see it) makes it even more apropos.
ABC News (8/24) -- If putting dabs of hot sauce on tongues becomes the standard for disciplining kids, mine are going to be a handful. I use Frank's Red Hot more than salt!
Boston Globe (8/24) -- Fun story loaded with details about an off-day in Chicago for Manny Ramirez. Your AL MVP goes to pick out a "metallic celery" 1967 Lincoln Continental as a surprise present for his dad's birthday (So don't tell him). And Ricky Gutierrez has some serious Lou Merloni potential.
Reuters (8/24) -- Talk about slow-rolling me. ESPN is putting on a new drama based on the "World Series of Poker," and they save the fact it's being done by the writers of "Rounders" until the third paragraph. If they need a perspective from pasty 20-someodds who try to win their way into the Series from the couch, I know way too many guys who'd be happy to help.
The Slate (8/23) -- Rob Neyer with an interesting free column on how tough it is to make contact with a softball. Unfortunately, he's talking about one thrown by Jennie Finch, not Rocco the welder from your slow-pitch Y league.
USA Today (8/23) -- Paging Dr. Simmons! The mystery of the torn ACL may have been solved. At puberty, apparently male athletes get a testosterone-driven boost in muscles around the knee, whereas female athletes only get a testosterone-driven boost ... everywhere else.
(Kidding! I'm JUST kidding!)
Hollywood Reporter (8/23) -- Two sweeping victories for clueless readers under 30. The first: "The Warriors" is going to be remade by MTV Films and will be penned by a writer from "The Sopranos," which means we'll get to see it by 2009. Better yet, a "Warriors" PS2 game will be out at the end of January. Now somebody needs to remake the Golden State Warriors and we're all set.
eBay -- It's The Ultimate Yard Sale! Unfortunately, the casket he got locked in by The Undertaker isn't for sale (he must be taking it to the grave), and we missed out on the Summerslam cape from Wembley Stadium. It's also hugely disappointing that Parts Unknown turned out to be Sante Fe, but his feedback page makes up for all of this.
"Warrior soars above and beyond like always. Best ebayer in the history of ebay!"
"fantastic item! fastest international delivery!! really the ultimate!!! A+++++++"
"SNARL! GRUNT! AAAAAAAAARGH!"
Soapnet.com -- If you're asked to plug "Melrose Place" re-runs on the Soap Opera Network ... and you know that James Gandolfini named his new horse Uncle Junior ... and even though you've never been to Houston, you've bookmarked an interactive Light Rail collision map ... it may be time to reevaluate things.
Boston Globe (8/23) -- In an effort to avoid intimidating students, Massachusetts teachers are switching from red pen to other "friendlier" colors. Believe me, kiddos. When you get a calculus test back and see "What's the point?" written all over the place, it won't matter if the ink's red or purple.
Canada.com (8/22) -- Bad Moon on the rise in Toronto! Let's hope Andre Rison's lawyer didn't actually call his CFL employment "gameful." Coming out of retirement to avoid being arrested for child support default, despite what he says, is pretty noble. It's on the same level as Riddick Bowe coming back so he can get beaten to death in an Oklahoma casino.
Detroit News (8/22) -- A couple of TV records going on here. Two Detroit teens set the record for most consecutive viewing hours. I love the restaurant manager only saying it's "one of" the strangest things he's ever seen at IHOP. Also, the NY Daily News reports that Regis Philbin now owns the record for most hours on camera. He logs in at just under 1.75 years. If they tracked his Letterman appearances, it's up to 8.
Straits Times (8/21) -- Mini-feature on sprinter Shawn Crawford, your 200-meter gold medalist, who's basically living the track and field career Rasheed Wallace could have had. Not only did he test positive for marijuana in Spain a couple months ago, but he once defaulted just so he could see what it felt like. And there's something way funnier in here ...
CNN (8/18) -- If there's ever a Sports Guy Estate, this black bear will be roaming the grounds. The runaway winner of the most requested link ever. Thirty-six beers for everyone.
Las Vegas Review-Journal (8/18) -- Dowwwn there at the pawn shop ...
It's a niiifty place to shop! Dowwn there at the pawn shop&
What has been sold ... is not strictly made of stone ...
Just remember to get more than $20 for that Big Eight title ring you own ...
ESPN Insider (8/17) -- No actual link here. I just wanted as many people as possible to see the following Lithuania note from Chad Ford:
"Their other big man, 6-10 center Kristof Lavrinovic, dominated in the Russian Superleague this season (which is like being good in your local YMCA), averaging 16.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg. Kristof spent the past two years in prison for the rape of a teenage girl before his realease Jan. 20. After the initial conviction, the victim recanted her story, suggesting it was consensual, and actually married his brother, Darjus."
Moving on ...
Florida Today (8/17) -- I bet the Hanshin Tigers sound pretty inviting right now. Records show that Cecil Fielder accuses his ex of beating him with a broomstick, stabbing him with scissors and a fork, threatening to shoot him and throwing furniture at him. Could be worse. That's basically one day in the life of Steve Austin.
Outsports (8/17) -- A gay magazine is being sued for libel by a 2004 L.A. marathoner who's upset that running his picture subjected him to "extreme embarrassment, public humiliation, mental agony and damage to his name and reputation." This is exactly how I would avoid publicity if I were embarrassed, Chris Harbinson of Wake County, N.C.
Craig's List San Francisco -- This could spell doom for Kevan Barlow's Niners career.
Carl Lewis.com -- Enter the High Speed Version. Keep pushing harder! Select your language. Keep the faith! Click "Fun with Carl." You can do it! Click "Carl sings." Just stick to it! Even when your boss sticks his head in your office. Twice.
"Oh, we're gooo-ing for the gold!"
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